Australia v Wales: preview

by staff

The Wallabies will be looking to add to their 10-game winning streak over Wales.

Where will Saturday's Pool A match be decided?



1. Scott Sio

2. Stephen Moore (captain)

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Kane Douglas

5. Dean Mumm

6. Scott Fardy

7. Sean McMahon

8. David Pocock

9. Will Genia

10. Bernard Foley

11. Drew Mitchell

12. Matt Giteau

13. Tevita Kuridrani

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper

15. Israel Folau


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau

17. James Slipper

18. Greg Holmes

19. Rob Simmons

20. Ben McCalman

21. Nick Phipps

22. Matt Toomua

23. Kurtley Beale


1. Paul James

2. Scott Baldwin

3. Samson Lee

4. Luke Charteris

5. Alun Wyn Jones

6. Sam Warburton (captain)

7. Justin Tipuric

8. Taulupe Faletau

9. Gareth Davies

10. Dan Biggar

11. Liam Williams

12. Jamie Roberts

13. George North

14. Alex Cuthbert

15. Gareth Anscombe


16. Ken Owens

17. Aaron Jarvis

18. Tom Francis

19. Jake Ball

20. Ross Moriarty

21. Lloyd Williams

22. Rhys Priestland

23. James Hook

Key Match-ups

McMahon/Pocock vs Warburton/Tipuric

Last week the Wallabies were up against zero specialist open sides. This week, fire will be fought with fire when with Justin Tipuric coming into the Welsh number seven, shifting captain Sam Warburton into blindside. The Wallabies will miss Michael Hooper’s speed coming into rucks but McMahon has been the side’s best in the past two matches he has played. If there’s one area where the Wallabies have the depth to cover unexpected changes it’s at seven. And McMahon has a fairly decent partner in David Pocock, who is leading the side for turnovers through the Cup. It’s worth noting he was not there the last time these sides met.

Will Genia v Gareth Davies

Last weekend it was the fly halves that shaped as pivotal, against Wales it will be the halfbacks. Gareth Davies had to replace Rhys Webb and had a major question mark over him coming into the tournament. However, the Welsh number nine has lived up to the task and his speed in attack has been crucial for the Red Dragons. Will Genia’s passing game has been his strength this tournament and it will be again on Saturday. Genia heaped the praise on Davies on Thursday but he is a world class number nine who has plenty of experience on the biggest stage.

Dan Biggar v Bernard Foley

Bernard Foley was the game breaker for the Wallabies and the points piled on for the Wallabies fly half. A major boon for the 10 was his perfect kicking on the night as well. The Wallabies have spoken all week about the dangers of giving Biggar an opportunity anywhere near the posts such is his kicking accuracy but Foley’s seven-from-seven last Saturday at the same ground will surely give him a boost in the pool decider.

The finishers

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika thinks this game will go down to the wire and history supports him. Australia’s fitness and ability to finish games off coupled with their whole squad mentality, means their bench is treated as an extension of the starting XV. Kurtley Beale, Matt Toomua would be starters in plenty of other World Cup teams and Queensland forwards James Slipper and Greg Holmes have been important injections in the pack when they’ve come off the bench.